Two fire engines to be stationed on Tobin Bridge after questions are raised about standpipe system

The Boston and Chelsea fire departments will station fire engines on the Tobin Bridge through the weekend to ensure its safety after tests raised questions about the standpipe system on the bridge, Boston fire officials said Friday.

A leak was discovered in one section of the system this morning. But it was repaired by late afternoon and the entire system passed a pressure test, said Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald.

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Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, said the DOT has hired a contractor to complete a flow test next week.

The standpipe system is kept dry and water is pumped into it when there is an emergency. Standpipes are essentially hydrants that allow firefighters on the bridge to get water to combat fires.

Work on a large sandblasting and painting project on most of the bridge, which connects Boston and Chelsea, has been suspended. But one 20-foot section that was recently sandblasted needs immediate attention. Officials gave permission to workers to treat it with primer so it wouldn’t suffer long-term effects, MacDonald said.

Work can continue on the ground below the bridge, he said.

The DOT will pay for two engines, one from Chelsea stationed on the southbound deck and one from Boston stationed on the northbound deck, to provide additional fire protection while the standpipe work is completed. Each engine holds about 500 gallons of water.

The engines will not disrupt traffic, said MacDonald.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to get this done safely, he said.